The MeToo movement taught us many important lessons. One of them is that when a person who has been sexually assaulted shares this personal piece of information with another individual an appropriate response is, “We believe you”. This response is appropriate because it shows the victim that the trauma they endured is VALID AND REAL.
The same principle can be applied to the LGBTQ2 community. When a person who identifies as LGBTQ2 shares:
- how they are minimized and feel invisible in certain communities (society, religions, ethnic communities, work spaces, social spaces, family spaces)
- how they are being discriminated by other people or communities (society, religions, ethnic communities, work spaces, social spaces, family spaces)
- how there is hypocrisy in certain communities which say they are inclusive, but are not
The appropriate response is 🌈“WE BELIEVE YOU.” 🌈
Other appropriate questions to ask include:
- Tell me more about your experience?
- What changes can implement to make our communities more inclusive?
- How can we support you?
It’s not okay to INVALIDATE the individual’s experience by:
- Making the LGBTQ2 individual feel like they are the crazy one.
- Making the LGBTQ2 individual feel like our experiences are not real.
- Making the LGBTQ2 individual feel that we have to do more reflective work to change when communities that aren’t inclusive don’t.
- Making the LGBTQ2 individual feel like asking for real change is asking for too much.
- Saying, but our community is doing X,Y and Z.
- Saying this is not a priority right now.
☝️These are all FORMS OF RESISTANCE.
There are certain communities that are genuinely inclusive, but that’s not the norm. Communities (society, religions, ethnic communities, work spaces, social spaces, family spaces) need to acknowledge that they have been designed by heterosexuals for heterosexuals.
I fully understand that having courageous conversations about homosexuality is complicated and nuanced. Communities that are shying away from this in the hopes that the elephant in the room goes away is a clear sign that they aren’t doing enough.
Just like some Caucasians are threatened by people of colour becoming empowered, some heterosexuals are threatened by the LGBTQ2 community being treated equally and empowered. Why? Because they feel like there isn’t enough space for all types of people. They feel like something will be taken away from them.
The reality is there is enough space in communities for everyone. The reality is when we truly accept all people in communities, we get communities that are richer, where people love each other, where people trust each other, where people work together to make communities more resilient.
Communities don’t need to do this work alone. It’s okay to acknowledge that mistakes where made. Acknowledging this opens the door for the LGBTQ2 community to come forward and work with you to create loving communities.
We can’t wait another 50 years, 70 years or 100 years for change because real people like me are facing trauma and emotional abuse for something we didn’t chose. We were born this way.